Find out if your immune system needs a boost

Until medication is found against the corona virus, the best we can do is to supercharge our immune system. Eating extra probiotics can be a quick first step.

Probiotics feed your good gut bacteria that fight the bad ones. Your intestinal lining is about the size of a tennis court! 300 m2. In the form of food you actually bring in the outside world into your digestive tract when eating. It would be impossible to survive if you didn’t have protective bacteria in your gut flora, who can partner up with your immune cells to help maintain your health in many different ways.

Find out if you are among one of the 6 groups at risk with decreased protective microbiome:

1. Do you take antibiotics?

Eat probiotics either a few hours before or after your antibiotic, and don’t give up after your antibiotic treatment course. Antibiotics kill bacteria, both good and bad ones. If you take probiotic at the same time, you help restore your beneficial microbes faster.

2. Do you take heartburn drugs?

Study shows that the widely used heartburn drugs (so-called proton pump inhibitors, PPI) )reduce stomach acid but also change the populations of microbes living in the intestines.

Dutch researchers analysed the gut bacteria compositions of 1,815 adults in the Netherlands, some who were healthy and some with gastrointestinal diseases like irritable bowel syndrome. Those using PPIs had less diversity of their gut microbes, also had more bacteria in the mouth and bacteria associated with infection in their stool samples.

The authors found that PPIs have stronger affect on gut microbiome than antibiotics. (Reuters)

3. Do you eat factory-farmed meats and dairy?

Factory-farmed meats and dairy contain antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides. Unless you are consuming organic grass-fed meats and dairy you are likely consuming minute doses of antibiotics with every meal. 

4. Do you drink well filtered water (Britta is not enough)

The chlorine and in some countries fluoride that remain in drinking water harm your beneficial gut bacteria. 

5. Do you regularly eat sugary foods or drink sugary beverages?

Sugar encourages the growth of undesirable bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract and upsets the balance of good-to-bad microbes. See the wide variety of names (54) of refined sugar in processed foods.

6. Do you regularly eat processed food?

A professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, wanted to find out what happens to your gut if you eat only fast food, for 10 solid days. Analysing stool samples during the study they found that about 40 percent of bacteria species in the gut were lost, which amounted to about 1,400 different types.

If your answered “yes” to any of above 6 questions, your microbiome and immune system is at risk. It’s time to eat extra probiotics. You may buy it as supplement, but because probiotics are living creatures, they can’t stay alive for long in dry, dark capsules. The most trustworthy form is always fresh, raw food. It can be fermented cabbage, kefir or kimchi for example. I don’t find fermented cabbage appealing, but in this winter salad it’s delicious.

Probiotic winter salad

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